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Praying Children
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The first prayer most of us prayed was the blessing, “God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him for our food,” or the classic bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep.”

When children are very young, getting them into the habit of prayer is more important than what they’re saying. As they grow, though, their prayers should deepen, just as ours do. The goal is to get your children to move from simply parroting a phrase to realizing that they are communicating with the Creator of the Universe.

Teaching children to pray is an awesome responsibility, because we know it is the basis through which they will eventually maintain a personal relationship with God. Many parents feel awkward, though, about teaching children to pray from the heart. It is really much simpler than it seems.

Begin by letting children see you pray.
Children want nothing more than to be like their parents. If they see that prayer is important to you, it will be important to them.

Teach children that prayer is just a conversation with God.
Encourage children to pray in ways that are natural for them, instead of trying to formalize prayer or force children to conform to our adult standards.

Make prayer a part of your daily routine.
We remember those prayers from our childhood because we prayed them every day. Incorporating prayer into their daily lives allows children to personalize the rituals and traditions of their faith, which brings them comfort.

Make it real.
Ritual is important, but prayer needs to grow as we grow. The words should deepen as we learn more about God, but being honest in prayer can sometimes feel embarrassing.  If we’re shy about praying in front of others, then children will learn to be ashamed of their prayers. Be brave enough to let your children see you pray from the heart.

Be flexible about prayer time.
We all live extremely busy lives. Don’t let lack of time keep you from praying. A short prayer on the way to school is better than no prayer at all. If you make prayer a priority, even when there’s no time, children will learn to recognize the importance of talking to God on a regular basis.

Find the best time to make time.
If mornings are particularly hectic in your family, set your prayer time before bed. Keeping a regular prayer time will strengthen your family bonds as children learn to strengthen their relationship with God.  

"Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).

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By Diana Hardin. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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